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Five Simple Ways To Relieve Neck Muscle Pain

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By Dr. Riley Williams with contribution from Evan Schwartz .
Pain-in-the-neck

Picture this: you wake up in the morning and turn to check the alarm clock. Suddenly, it strikes – neck pain. And you can kiss the rest of your day goodbye.

Neck strains, sprains, and spasms are among the most painful injuries one can sustain. Neck pain can come from turning your head in a funny way, or from staring at a computer screen too long, or from the stress of daily life.

Thankfully, there are many simple ways to relieve neck pain. Here are five things to try the next time you experience neck muscle pain.

The best way to kick start your recovery from neck muscle pain is to apply alternating cold and heat therapy.

1) Heat Up And Cool Down

The best way to kick start your recovery from neck muscle pain is to apply alternating cold and heat therapy. Cold numbs pain and slows inflammation, while heat relaxes and soothes your neck muscles and helps your body flush away damaged tissue. Heat is especially good if you suffer from neck spasms, while cold should be applied to a sprain, stretch, or tear.

2) Push It Out

What is your natural response to neck pain? Probably pressing your fingers into the affected area for a quick self-massage. But contorting your body into weird positions in order to get some temporary back relief can lead to pain in other areas. Therma1™ is designed for both massage and compression, and works more effectively than just jamming your thumb into your neck and hoping you feel better. It applies even, dynamic compression and massage, not just a single pressure point.

3) Hit The Gym

Carrying a few extra pounds can be unhealthy for many reasons, but it may be contributing to your neck pain. Being overweight is particularly taxing on your spine, and by extension your neck. Having weak core muscles can contribute to poor posture, which can lead to chronic neck pain. So losing weight and focusing on your core can improve most aspects of your life, including your neck muscle pain.

4) Consider Taking a Mild Anti-Inflammatory

If alternating cold and heat therapy with a compression and massage roller (i.e.,  Therma1™)  doesn’t do the trick, consider supplementing hot cold roller therapy with an anti-inflammatory.  This seems like a no-brainer, and yet so many people sustain an injury and try to tough it out.  Maybe it’s because a neck injury won’t impair your movement the way a sprained knee or ankle will – simply keeping your head in the same place may provide relief.  Instead, consider reaching for an anti-inflammatory painkiller will help reduce pain, at least temporarily.

5) Relax

Many people have a “pain in the neck” because the emotional strain of daily life can lead to physical tension, which is often concentrated in the neck and shoulders. Maybe you can’t remove all the stress from your life, but a massage or a hot bath every once in a while will certainly help. Take a quick break from life, and you may find it’s not such a pain in the neck after all.

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